‘Not wise’ to rule out ground troops says MP Sir Jim Paice as he votes in favour of air strikes against ISIL

MP Sir Jim Paice

MP Sir Jim Paice - Credit: Archant

MP Sir Jim Paice said he welcomed the vote in favour of British involvement in airstrikes against ISIL but it was “not wise” to rule out use of ground troops.

The MP for SE Cambs said: “Parliament voted overwhelmingly to authorise air strikes in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi Government.

“524 MPs, including myself, voted in favour, with 43 MPs against. The vote means that RAF planes could be called into action within hours.”

In the debate Sir Jim voiced support for the coalition of nations set to take part in airstrikes, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and others.

Addressing the need to reduce ISIL’s access to weapons, the MP said: “We must address the financial issue.

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“It is all very well saying that countries should stop buying the oil, but somehow there are financial institutions and mechanisms that are turning the oil into the flow of cash that is buying weapons for ISIL. I hope pressure can be brought to deal with these financial institutions”.

On the issue of ground troops, Sir Jim said: “I am a firm believer that we should always retain some element of surprise. If you will the end, you need to will the means.

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“I do not want to see British troops on the ground and I entirely agree that it is down to the Iraqi army and Peshmerga to be the troops on the ground. “Nevertheless, I am not sure it is wise to rule it out”.

Sir Jim also raised the question of how attacks may be launched against ISIL in Syria without being seen, in some way, to be supporting the Assad regime, whilst, at the same time, supporting the Free Syria Army.

Sir Jim said: “I am afraid there is still a small lacuna in policy, as I understand it, on that issue”.

The vote took place at 5pm on Friday; after a seven-hour debate, MPs voted for military action by 524 votes to 43.

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